Family Law (Divorce, Family Relations)/Divorce alimony and support
I was divorced in FL., with an agreed upon settlement. I have since moved to another state, bought a house, laid off from a six figure job, unemployed for several months, and am under-employed making a lot less money. My ex and I have e-mail train that reflects adjustments to payments that are less than original agreement, both offers and acceptance emails. I am now told by ex that there is an amount owed in back alimony payments based on the original agreement, which is now a sizable amount.
Question: Am I liable for amounts based on original divorce decree or written agreements as my ability to pay based on reduced income?
Hi Ken, unless and until the Final Judgment of Dissolution (including the settlement which became a part of the Final Judgment) is modified by court order you alimony obligation remains the same as originally ordered. The proper procedure is/was to file a Petition for Modification of Final Judgment and either have entered an Agreed Order Modifying Final Judgment (assuming you and your former wife were able to reach such an agreement) or litigate the matter before the court to obtain such a modification. Pursuant to statutory rules a Modification can generally only be granted from the date the Petition requesting the same is filed but the courts do have some discretion in such matters.
At this point it would appear that you will need to file a Petition for Modification as soon as possible unless your former wife is willing to sign off on an Agreed Order at this time adjusting your alimony obligation retroactive to the date you began making the reduced payments. If that is the case the Agreed Order should be drafted by a Florida Family Law attorney so you can be assured that it provides the full relief you need and require. If that is not the case you will need to litigate the action before the court and the emails you have between you and your former wife can be used as evidence in the same.
I hope this information was helpful to you, if it was, please do me the courtesy of rating it. Please be aware and advised that this public forum is designed to provide only general information, to give you a basis of legal knowledge. This public forum does not give you attorney-client privilege. You and I have not entered into an attorney-client relationship. I am not responsible for your legal rights and this answer is based solely on the information you have provided in your question and as always, I would advise that you arrange for an in person consultation with an attorney from my firm or another Family Law attorney familiar with Florida Family Law who can analyze the specific facts and circumstances of your case more closely to better advise you. Additional information may be obtained on our web site listed below.
Daniel Bachert, Esq.
The Bachert Law Firm, P.A.
330 Clematis Street, Suite 222
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401